In an exclusive interaction with Restaurant India, SM Shervani, MD, Shervani Hospitality and former President FHRAI, talks about whatâ€™s trending in Indian food business in 2014 and years to come.
What according to you is the latest trend in the F&B industry? And which cuisine you find is exciting in the world?
The latest trend in the Indian F&B industry is the fusion and experimentation of Indian food amongst the youngsters. Fusion of Indian food with international food is something new. More and more people are willing to try out newer food items.
I feel Oriental cuisine is most exciting in the world.
How has the shift changing in the eating habits of consumers in India?
More and more people are going out for a meal for a casual occasion. Earlier eating at restaurants was saved for an occasion (birthdays, anniversaries, promotions etc). Now the idea of going to a bar or restaurant after work for a drink or meal has picked up tremendously.
How do you design menu at your restaurants? What are the essentials that need to be taken care of when managing a kitchen?
A menu is designed keeping in mind the core values and cuisine of the restaurant brand. Specific care must be taken not to overshoot the menu. There is no point in having an extravagant menu but not being able to source raw materials in time to cook the final product. Capability of the Chef should also be kept in mind. Important to see location where you are and eating habits of customers. Once a menu has been designed, kitchen equipment must be customized to the size of the kitchen as well as the menu and the Chef must lead this process. When managing a kitchen- safety, hygiene and zero compromising on quality of raw materials should be adhered to.
What would you comment on the authenticity of these foods served in Indian restaurants?
We are experts on Tex-Mex cuisine. We at Rodeo have always imported our chillies, our flour and various other items. Various chillies used in Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex cuisine are not used in India. Therefore it is important to get the right ingredients to give the correct flavour. The method of cooking must compliment the ingredients to compliment them and sustain the authenticity.
What according to you is the right recipe for food business in India?
There is no right recipe as such, no formula. It is all research & analysis. For running a successful restaurant, the eating pattern of potential customers must be studied along with the spending capacity. A good location must be chosen that has the right amount of footfall and also a close eye needs to be kept on the competition. And in addition to that, a good trial goes a long way to compliment the success.
What made you organise steak fest?
The steak festival allows us to break the monotony of our restaurant business for not only our customers but staff as well. It gives our chefs the ability to innovate and experiment with new dishes. To run a successful restaurant, one must periodically offer new items to customers.
What is the marketing strategy for it?
The strategy is traditional- a mix of print and online promotions. Also, Social Media is an important interactive medium to reach out directly to the end consumers. Beyond that, Rodeo enjoys a strong battery of loyalists due to its consistent superior quality and excellent hospitality. By satisfying our patrons as well as new customers, we do achieve excellent word of mouth awareness about our brand, which is over and above any form of promotion.
What do you do to bring out the best flavours in your restaurant?
The best flavours are brought out by using the freshest ingredients and using those raw materials which are in season. Certain SOPs are to be followed such as having our senior Chefs inspect the new stock once it arrives. Other than this again I must emphasize that the method of cooking should be followed along with using the best ingredients in the market.
What advise you would like to give to the budding restaurateurs in the industry?
To ensure longevity of your restaurant you must have good food. 70 percent of your sales should be towards food and the rest liquor. One can get drinks at many places but good food and service is not available everywhere. Innovation in this industry is key along with a strong work ethic.